Engineers Make the World Go Round

Posted by Janae Melvin on September 29, 2015 in and, Applied, engineering, Health, of, School, Sciences "Engineers solve the world’s problems,” said Dr. Dennis Tyner, Dean of the School of Health & Applied Sciences. “We help nurses, business people, architects, anyone and everyone.”

Engineering is an exciting, ever-evolving field and Ottawa University’s recent addition of an engineering degree keeps the school at the forefront of higher education. In fact, very few small universities offer engineering degrees. What sets OU’s program apart from the others is the combined curriculum of liberal arts courses and fundamental coursework in engineering.

Engineers are not generally known for good communication skills and in today’s shrinking world, it is quite detrimental. Since engineering firms are based all over the earth, engineers cannot meet global needs properly and in a timely fashion if they don’t understand differing cultures, worldviews and backgrounds. While we don’t know where our graduates will end up we do know that with an engineering degree that includes long-standing liberal arts, wherever they land, they’ll be able to make a positive difference.

“The beauty of using OU’s core liberal arts is that students are immersed in an environment that produces a better, more well-rounded engineer. The non-technical skills will help them greatly—to be more marketable, to be recognized, to set them up to understand needs and manage people,” said Tyner.
Another difference between traditional engineering program and OU model is while SAT/ACT scores are valued they do not determine whether a student has the opportunity to achieve an engineering degree.

“As long as students are accepted to OU, they are welcome to pursue any major, including engineering,” said Tyner.

Hard workers who may not score well on standardized tests have the chance to become tenacious, problem-solving engineers.

“My favorite part of the engineering program so far is learning so much in such a short amount of time,” said engineering student Jacob Martin. “The program also enlightened me on how much I didn’t know about engineering and how many of my assumptions about engineering were wrong.”

Fellow engineering student Beau Skeet agrees that while the coursework is exciting, it is also exceedingly challenging. “Learning to program is like learning a new language,” he said. He’s up for the test and already has big dreams for his OU engineering degree.

“I hope to one day help move the world in the next big technological change,” said Skeet. “For instance, when we sent a man to the moon, the whole world watched. I want to have a part in something that comes to be known as the next big leap forward.”

Each year the engineering program will grow and change, much like the field itself, producing engineers who troubleshoot problems and think critically. The goal is to have 50 students in the program who will choose electives in engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical or environmental. Twenty-four students are currently enrolled this semester and are taking courses in Introduction to Engineering, Thermodynamics and Electric Circuits.

“Most people do not think of a liberal arts university as home to an outstanding engineering program,” said Tyner. “OU’s degree equips students with unexpected but increasingly important non-technical abilities as they enter the engineering world.”